Lengthy aircraft program delays happen for a variety of reasons, but a common thread lies in what multinational management consultancy Accenture calls their extraordinary complexity and the “interwoven” nature of the decisions of hundreds of suppliers. Compounding such complexity, says Accenture, a wide geographic dispersion of suppliers exists across virtually all regions of the world, resulting in fragmented, disaggregated and misaligned development processes, supply chain calculations such as parts shortages and manufacturing/engineering inefficiencies.
Airbus has become the newest member of the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and research (A*STAR) aerospace program, it was announced at the Aerospace Technology Leadership Forum in downtown Singapore on Monday. Airbus joins various other OEMs as members–such as Boeing, Embraer and Bombardier, GE, P&W, Rolls-Royce, Safran and Honeywell–and major aviation Singapore companies-such as ST Aerospace and SIA Engineering.
In collaboration with Airbus, Switzerland-based SR Technics (Booth D11) has announced an in-service Sharklet retrofit to its maintenance capabilities from 2015, becoming one of the first third-party providers to do so. The modifications will be offered on Airbus 319 and A320s. The offering will be made out the company’s aircraft maintenance facilities in Malta or Zurich, In order to reduce aircraft downtime, SR Technics is “exploring the option to combine the retrofit with a scheduled base maintenance visit or other modifications, noted a statement.
Growth is the word in the Asia-Pacific region, and since 2010 Jet Aviation Singapore has more than doubled the number of skilled workers it employs; three-quarters of the new employees are local hires. To meet growing demand for business aviation services in the region, Jet Aviation Singapore has raised its employee headcount to 123 from 59 in 2010 and plans to hire 13 more aviation professionals this year.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Booth E35), also known as Indonesia Aerospace (IAe), delivered its first complete main fuselage assembly for the EC225/725 helicopter series to Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) last December. The company had previously supplied five upper fuselage sections, as well as 23 tail booms, in a $43 million long-term deal struck in 2008 that called for a total of 125 component sets. Now IAe has been entrusted to supply integrated fuselages. This year, it will supply one every 10 weeks, and one tail boom every three weeks.
For Franco-Italian regional turboprop manufacturer ATR (Booth E01), the Asia Pacific region now takes top spot in its geographic sales rankings, but orders from China still seem to be eluding the company. Last year ATR saw orders and deliveries grow again, reaching record levels and steady profitability, but it has yet to convince shareholders Airbus Group and Finmeccanica to launch a new larger turboprop in the 90-seat category.
Airbus Helicopters (Booth J23), formerly Eurocopter, is seeing the Chinese market taking off at last, thus beginning to keep its promises. Norbert Ducrot, CEO of Airbus Helicopters China (who is also responsible for Japan and South Korea), said the company plans to increase its presence with more sales, as well as the addition of maintenance, training and assembly facilities.
Newly merged divisions aiming to increase profitability and growth
The EASA has certified the Airbus Helicopters EC175 medium twin, issuing the type certificate last Thursday. On January 28, the airframer announced it had completed the certification process and was expecting the certificate within days, which the EASA qualified by indicating the document would be delivered in the first quarter. An EASA spokesman confirmed yesterday that the final paperwork was completed more quickly than anticipated.
Benoit Defforge has been promoted to managing director of Airbus Corporate Jets, the company announced yesterday. In his new role, he leads Airbus’s corporate jet business globally. He retains his previous role as head of Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC). Defforge joined Airbus in 2003 to improve the efficiency of the A330/A340 final assembly line and then led the development of the A380’s electrical systems before being tapped to head ACJC in May 2007.